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Obama, Clinton campaigns in high gear in Austin

Monday, February 25, 2008 by Austin Monitor

The campaigns of Democratic Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were working hard in Austin Sunday as both capitalized on the excitement the race has stirred amongst the young.


At the new East Austin headquarters opening party of the Obama campaign, a seven-year-old girl was introduced to lead the crowd in a chant she said she had authored herself: “Vote in the morning, caucus in the evening,” she chanted, clapping her hands.


In South Austin, at the large Clinton headquarters, a 10-year-old girl sat with another volunteer at the front desk. She said proudly that she volunteers for the campaign every weekend, asking the reporter if she would like to sign up to phone bank. 


Glenn Maxey, who is both a candidate for Travis County Tax Assessor Collector and a seasoned political consultant, said his analysis of local early voting patterns showed that University of Texas students are voting at twice the rate of other Austinites. As of the end of voting on Friday, nearly 6 percent of registered voters had cast ballots. However, Maxey said 12 percent of registered UT students had already voted.


On Sunday night, the Travis County Clerk’s Office reported nearly 8 percent of the county’s voters had gone to the polls.


Speaking at the Obama gathering were Senator Kirk Watson and Council Members Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole. “What we’re seeing is a movement, a movement of policy and of spirit,” said Watson, noting that his part of Travis County, Senate District 14, has the highest number of Democratic delegates from Texas to the national convention. Stressing the importance of Travis County and the youth vote, Obama is opening a third headquarters at noon today in Dobie Mall near UT.


Meanwhile, at the Clinton HQ, phone bankers called Democrats to make sure they understand the need to vote and go to their precinct conventions. Obama volunteers have been doing the same thing.


Over the weekend, Sen. John Kerry and Chelsea Clinton both campaigned in the Valley on behalf of their respective candidates. Kerry has endorsed Obama.

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg will be at Serrano’s Restaurant on Red River Monday at 2pm to greet voters on behalf of Sen. Obama, followed by a campaign appearance in San Antonio. At the same time, Michelle Obama will be making campaign appearances in cities along the Gulf Coast, including Houston.

Obama’s campaign says he will be in San Marcos on Wednesday for a rally on his “Stand For Change” tour. The location and time has yet to be announced. Those who are interested in attending can request updates at the Texans For Obama website

On the Clinton side, the star power doesn’t get any bigger than former Pres. Bill Clinton, who will be on the Main Lawn at the University of Texas on Wednesday. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to RSVP at the Clinton campaign website.

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